REPORT: 340B HOSPITALS PROVIDE CARE FOR HIGH PERCENTAGES OF HISTORICALLY UNDERSERVED PATIENTS
WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 29, 2022 — A new research study shows that hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program are treating higher percentages of patients who historically have encountered difficulties accessing care when needed. Patients seeking care at 340B hospitals are significantly more likely to be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, be eligible for Medicare because of a disability, or to identify as Black than those seeking care at non-340B hospitals and physician offices.
The report, prepared for 340B Health by L&M Policy Research, looks at 2019 federal data to examine the demographic characteristics of Medicare patients treated at hospitals and doctors’ offices. The study, which updates earlier research that used 2016 data, concludes that 340B hospitals continue to care for larger portions of patients who too often are underserved by the broader health care system. The researchers found that:
- The percentage of patients who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid at 340B hospitals is 48% higher than at non-340B hospitals and 72% higher than at physician offices. Dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries have lower incomes, a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, and greater health disparities stemming from their socioeconomic status.
- The percentage of Medicare patients at 340B hospitals who are under age 65 is 37% higher than in non-340B hospitals and more than double that of the patient makeup at physician offices. To be eligible for Medicare before age 65, beneficiaries must be living with a disability or certain severe disease states, and they tend to require more aggressive, costly care.
- The percentage of Medicare patients at 340B hospitals who are disabled is 37% higher than at non-340B hospitals and 114% higher than in physician offices. Disabled patients also are associated with a need for more comprehensive care and higher health costs.
- The percentage of Medicare patients treated in 340B hospitals who identify as Black is 69% higher than at non-340B hospitals and 63% higher than at physician offices. Communities of color face disproportionate illness burden and barriers to care compared to white communities.
Congress created 340B to help safety-net hospitals, clinics, and health centers stretch their scarce resources to care for more patients with low incomes and offer more comprehensive services. 340B eligibility rules require hospitals to demonstrate that people living with low incomes make up a higher-than-average percentage of their patient populations, or they must be located in certain remote or underserved areas.
“Patients who are most in need are much more likely to rely on 340B hospitals for their care, and those hospitals use their 340B savings to provide additional services and reduce inequities in care,” said Maureen Testoni, president and CEO of 340B Health. “By doing so, 340B serves as a cornerstone in the continuing effort to build more access and equity into the health care system.”